• Alisa Williams

Book Review: Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee



Dragon Pearl

Written by Yoon Ha Lee

Rick Riordan Presents (Disney-Hyperion), 2019

Buy Now on Amazon: Hardcover | Kindle

The latest book from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint of Disney is an absolute delight!

Thirteen-year-old Min is a fox spirit who has always dreamed of joining the Space Forces. Her older brother, Jun, joined a couple of years ago and she can’t wait until she turns 16 and can follow him to the stars. Unfortunately, things go terribly wrong when an investigator shows up at her family’s door with news that Jun deserted. The investigator tells Min’s mother that Jun and some fellow cadets went rogue, in search of the fabled Dragon Pearl, an object that — if it truly exists — holds the power to terraform worlds in an instant. It’s something that could change life completely for Min’s family and the other people on the backwater planet of Jinju.

Min knows her brother would never desert, even for something as important as the Dragon Pearl, but in the process of trying to spy on the conversation between her mother and the investigator, she accidentally reveals that they are fox spirits, a race of beings thought to be extinct. In order to stay safe from the many people who would discriminate and possibly harm them for being fox spirits, Min’s family has always taken the form of humans (shapeshifting is one of their many abilities). But now Min’s family is exposed, Jun is in trouble, and Min knows she’ll do whatever she must to save her brother.

Thus begins one of the greatest adventure stories for middle grade readers that I’ve come across in a long time. Yoon Ha Lee has created an epic space odyssey that was so exciting and fun to read. I loved Min from the first page — her tenacity, her loyalty to her brother, and her heart all shine so strongly and make her the perfect protagonist. I didn’t know where Lee was going to go next in the story, there were so many great plot twists, and the ending had me so excited to read what comes next.

This book is like Supernatural meets Firefly meets Star Trek, and I am so here for it. I think this is my favorite so far of the Rick Riordan Imprint books — and I’ve read ALL of them, and all of them were amazing.

From the imaginative world building to the robust characters to the twisty plot, this was a book that has captured both my mind and my heart, and I hope there are many more books to come about Min.

This review originally appeared on NetGalley. I received a free Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest review of this title.

Alisa Williams is the managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org. She blogs at alisawilliamswrites.com, tweets at @AWWritesStories, and bookstagrams at @AllyWritesStories.

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©2020 by Alisa Williams